Soul Void is an early example of how GB Studio can help creators branch off into the world of game development. Brooke Edenfield, better known as Kadabura, is a talented artist who’s been making fascinating and striking visual art in different mediums for several years now. Soul Void marks her first foray into game development with this exploration narrative adventure that just oozes with style.
An earlier GB Studio game (released in 2019), you play as someone whose soul is lost in what could be interpreted as limbo or a metaphysical place outside our existence. While it does acknowledge that some of the souls are of people who’ve died, it is expressed that this could be a place that’s not necessarily reached by death alone. The game takes you through many unique and captivating environments that can be both shocking and calming. Different entities roam the spaces and interacting with some brings gorgeously detailed pixel art that is beautiful to behold on its own.
Using GB Studio’s original engine as intended, the gameplay has you interacting with characters and solving puzzles. These experiences relate to helping these troubled souls find peace and offer some very heartfelt moments. Much of the game is about exploring the spaces, trying to find your way around the ethereal maps while interacting with the beings you discover. Some puzzles are fairly straightforward (find a box that has an item for example) but early on you’ll find some tasks that require a bit of “outside the box” thinking. The puzzle difficulty increases as the game progresses, but thankfully the creator has made a walkthrough should you get stuck (linked on the game page).
Soul Void does have some limitations. There is no music or audio in the game, but Kadabura offers a simple solution: play some music on the side. Lo-fi ambient beats are recommended, and I’ve listed some tracks below that I enjoy listening to while playing. There is no download available for the ROM as well, so you can only play it in a browser. Finally, there is no save system, so the game will need to be played in one sitting. As the game is only 1-2 hours, it is feasible to tackle it in one go (or revisit it, speeding through the tasks), and the site also provides a way to restore your game as long as the window remains open.
Given the game was built as a proof of concept, all of these shortcomings are easy to overlook. The environment, presentation and gameplay all provide an engaging experience that is worth trying out. It also provides an example of how GB Studio can be an empowering tool for those who have been interested in making games, but find the coding aspect intimidating. The ability to work in a visual interface that easily allows “drag and drop” game building along with clear systems for scripting can provide that opportunity for people to express themselves with interactive entertainment.
You can play Soul Void on Kadabura’s Itch page here: https://kadabura.itch.io/soul-void
Kadabura has mentioned hoping to continue with GB Studio in the future for another game, but is also in the midst of building a 1-bit adventure. You can check out the development progress on their Twitter feed, as well as some of her other epic artwork on Instagram and her website: https://www.kadaburadraws.com/
Here’s some of the editor’s picks for music to listen to while playing Soul Void:
Audio Engineer, Mac Technologist and Video Game Developer. Managing Editor of GBStudio Central. (he/him)